Last week’s post was part one of our 14 social media tips for 2014. We have 7 more helpful hints that can help you with your strategies for the upcoming year — good luck!
8. Lighten Up On The Hashtags
Hashtags help increase tweets’ visibility by tying them into different conversations based on a specific word or phrase. If you use a hashtag and someone searches that phrase, your post will show up in the list of tweets or statuses that have that phrase in common. Common sense might lead you to believe that the more hashtags included in a post, the more visible that post will be. And, to an extent, that may be true. The law of diminishing returns comes into play, though, when posts include too many hashtags. Too many #s will make your post look like spam and will lose your audience’s interest.
Defining the hashtag sweet spot is tough. It depends largely on your audience and the channel you’re using. It’s best to keep your X hashtags limited to one or two per tweet, especially since the character limit is already so small. Facebook hashtags are relatively new, so some experimentation is in order to figure out the best way to use them. Instagram hashtags are useful but, again, it takes some time to pick out the best practices for hashtag use. Regardless of the platform, your best bet is to keep them simple, use them to highlight only the most important part of your post, and never sacrifice quality information to cram in a few more.
9. Don’t Start a Tweet With an “@”
This is an often-overlooked mistake that even seasoned X veterans make from time to time. When someone starts a tweet with a mention (for example: “@qgiv”), the tweet acts as a “private mention.” That means that only you, the person you mentioned, and people who follow both of you can see the tweet. To make a mention visible to everyone, start your tweet with a symbol other than “@”. Lots of people use something as simple as a period (so their tweet would start, “.@qgiv”) or work the mention into the tweet after a few words. That ensures that all of their followers will see their tweet.
Still not sure what this looks like in practice? Check out this website to see how it works and to pick up some other X tips!
10. Keep It Short
Short, succinct posts tend to be best when it comes to getting your audience’s attention. This isn’t a hard and fast rule — there is always room for longer posts on Facebook and similar channels. Remember, your audience sees your posts as they scroll through their social feeds and will usually only glance over many different posts. Offering your readers short, bite-sized tweets and updates is the best way to make sure they see your posts instead of skipping over them. When you do make larger posts, try to focus on writing a really compelling introduction that will catch their attention and pique their interest.
11. Delete URLs from Facebook Posts
This is a good tip for making your Facebook posts look cleaner and more professional. When you paste a URL into a Facebook update, the site automatically creates a nice-looking preview of the webpage. The preview includes the title of the page, an excerpt from the text on the site, and (usually) a photo.
Note that the long URL that was originally pasted in the status has been removed. Deleting that URL still lets Facebook offer the link but makes the post look more professional. It’s a small detail, but it’s a good way to keep your Facebook looking nice.
12. Converse, Don’t Sell
Social media is a valuable tool for nonprofits, but it should not be your primary method of fundraising. Your biggest goal on social media should be to engage your audience and, eventually, drive them to your organization’s website. Soliciting donations on social media is fine, but focus most of your energy on sharing your story, growing your audience, having conversations with your donors and potential donors, and pointing all your fans to your website. Get out there and inspire your donors!
13. Avoid Talking Exclusively About Yourself
There’s an art to striking a balance between spreading your nonprofit’s message and focusing donor-centric content. Your audience supports your mission (they wouldn’t be following you if they didn’t!), but the importance of focusing on your volunteers and donors can not be overstated. Working to frame your nonprofit’s work and mission in the framework of your volunteers and the people you help, publicly thanking donors and volunteers, and focusing on the people in your organization instead of on the organization itself. It’s a fine distinction — just remember that the human angle of any story is always very compelling to audiences!
14. Upload an Avatar
Most organizations are really good about uploading an avatar for their social profiles. There are always some, though, that put off uploading a photo or logo. That can deter people from following those organizations! Having an avatar for your profiles lends an air of legitimacy to your profile and is a good tool for catching followers’ attentions as they scroll through their feeds. Don’t neglect this small detail!